Sunday, November 28, 2010

Macarons de l'Automne

I made macarons for our Thanksgiving get togethers with family and friends.  Macarons de l'Automne means "Fall Macarons" in French... since I made chocolate macarons with hazelnut spread and vanilla macarons with pumpkin buttercream to go with our Thanksgiving meals.

As you probably know, making macarons is a science but it also seems to be dependent on your luck too.  I've made macarons in the past, and tried a number of recipes, but I hadn't found the perfect recipe to use.  So, in preparing to make these macarons, I tried a few recipes, including some that didn't end so well.  Here are two recipes that, although quite different, produced successful macarons.  If you read a lot of the information about macarons online you'll see that although you must be precise in whatever recipe you pick, there are a lot of different ways to produce a successful macaron.  So, try your hand at them, follow the directions carefully, and hope you have good luck! ;)

Chocolate Macarons with Nutella
- 1 cup (100 g) powdered sugar
- ½ cup blanched, slivered almonds (about 2 oz, 50 g)
- 3 tablespoons (25 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 5 tablespoons (65 g) granulated sugar

- 1/2 cup Nutella

Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats and have a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip ready to fill.

In a food processor, grind the almonds as fine as possible.  Add the powdered sugar and cocoa, then pulverize, grinding so that there are no lumps. Sift the mixture through a fine mesh sieve at least once and set aside.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium until they are foamy. Increase the speed and slowly add the granulated sugar.  Beat a high speed until very stiff and firm, a few more minutes.

Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites using a flexible rubber spatula. Continue folding, carefully.  When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you're alone).

Pipe the batter onto the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.

Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons and release any air bubbles.  Allow the macaron shells to dry for at least 30 minutes on the counter, until dry or tacky to the touch.  Then, bake them for 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely and remove from baking sheet.

Pipe or spoon Nutella onto a macaron and sandwich it with another.  Repeat until you have done this with all of them.  Place the macaron "sandwiches" in an airtight container and place in the fridge for at least one day to get the soft, chewy desired texture.

source: Food, je t'aime & David Lebovitz

Macarons with Pumpkin Buttercream
- 100 g egg whites, about 3 eggs
- 50 g white sugar
- 200 g powdered sugar
- 110 g blanched almonds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

- 1/2 tsp almond extract
for the filling:
- 4 tbs butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbs pumpkin butter

Combine powdered sugar and almonds in food processor and process for about 2 minutes.

Using a stand mixer whip the egg whites, while gradually adding granulated sugar, until they form stiff, shiny peaks.  Add the extracts to the egg whites, then combine egg whites and dry ingredients. Fold quickly at first then slow down until you have what looks like a molten sludge.

Put your macaron mix in a pastry bag and pipe 1 inch circles onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour, until dry to the touch.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and cook for 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before removing from baking sheets.

Prepare buttercream filling by mixing butter, powdered sugar and pumpkin butter.  Whip together until combined.  Pipe or spread onto macarons.  Place in airtight container and refrigerate before serving.

source: modified from & Tartlette

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